Closing soon: Shallow-water grouper (black, gag, red, scamp and others) will be off-limits in the gulf for all recreational anglers and divers starting Tuesday. This closure is for federal and state waters and is in effect until March 31. For information, go to myfwc.com.
Weather: If the forecast looks good, there should be many anglers and spearfishermen going out to land grouper before the closure. If the weather turns questionable, use caution and turn around if conditions warrant a smart retreat. With the water temperatures in the low to mid 50s, spending any time in the water due to a boating accident can become lethal quickly. Remember your EPIRB (distress radio beacon), and test it before you leave the dock.
Tournament: The Tampa Bay Spearfishing Challenge will be April 8-10. All proceeds support local and national charities. For information, go to tampabayspearfishingclub.org.
Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 or firstname.lastname@example.org.